Get ready for the most unique gin cocktail. It's earthy, herbaceous, fruity, complex, and kissed with a bit of honey. It's the Ginnie The Pooh!
My inspiration for this cocktail is the forest, and more specifically the Hundred Acre Wood. There's fruitiness from muddled blackberries, herbaceousness from thyme, earthiness from bitters, and a bit of sweetness from honey. All of these flavors are wrapped up in gin, which is itself so complex, and kissed at the end with some ginger beer for a pop of bright flavor. It's like walking through the woods after a summer rain, when you can smell all the earthy smells coming up from the damp soil.
This cocktail is just plain fun. It has a lovely bright color, all sorts of wonderful flavors, festive fizz, and woodsy garnishes that are a bit over-the-top. This would be the perfect cocktail for Winnie The Pooh since it contains some of his most favorite ingredients. (Winnie likes gin, right??).
We can't talk about Winnie The Pooh without talking about honey (or as he spells it, hunny). Honey actually enters into this drink in two ways. Barr Hill Gin, one of my most favorite Vermont products, is actually distilled from honey. It gives the gin the most lovely, complex, and balanced flavor notes. It's truly a wonderful product and is now available quite widely, so I highly suggest finding yourself a bottle. You'll also make a quick honey thyme syrup to sweeten the drink because Winnie The Pooh would much prefer a honey simple syrup over a regular simple syrup (obviously).
This cocktail relies upon a simple syrup to get all that fragrant honey and thyme flavor into the drink. If you've never made a simple syrup before, don't let the fancy name intimidate you. It's actually really easy to do at home, and a simple syrup keeps great in the fridge for weeks.
A simple syrup is just a mixture of sugar (in this case, honey) and water, cooked down until it becomes thick and syrupy. It's a great way to capture flavors that are difficult to get into a liquid form... for example, thyme (which really doesn't muddle well) and honey (which is often too gooey to dissolve well).
The recipe below will walk you through making a honey thyme simple syrup, but this concept will work for just about anything you can dream up, so don't be afraid to experiment! Herbs, warming spices, and edible flowers all yield wonderful simple syrups.
One of the things I really love about this cocktail is that it's easy to customize. Feel free to adjust the gin amounts to your tastes; because of the complex flavors, this works great as a very low-alcohol drink if you prefer. You can also adjust the sweetness as you see fit, adding more or less simple syrup. While I love ginger beer here since it really adds to the woodsy vibe, this would also work nicely with tonic.
When we have friends over, I prefer to make individualized drinks as long as it's for a reasonable number of people. I usually say "The house cocktail today is X, but I can make you a low/no alcohol version if you prefer, and I can also adjust the sweetness to your tastes". I think it's a nice way to give people control over their own drink experiences and make sure everyone gets something that works for them.
Do you have an empty honey jar, or perhaps even one of Barr Hill's honey-jar-inspired glasses?? If so, major bonus points for serving it in one of those, as I've shown below.
Here's what you'll need for this recipe, as well as some thoughts, tips, and possible substitutions. If you make any substitutions, I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below.
Another thing I love about this cocktail is that it transcends seasons. The berries are summery, while the thyme is wintry. Ginger beer is always a good idea. So this cocktail can really be enjoyed year round, whether you're sipping it on the deck alongside summer salads or beside the fire with a cozy squash soup.
If you're looking for me, I'll be with Winnie The Pooh, enjoying one of these as we stroll through the Hundred Acre Wood.
It makes me so happy to hear from you and see your creations! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this recipe. If you post a photo on Instagram, hashtag #TheRogueBrusselSprout and tag me (@TheRogueBrusselSprout) in the post text so that I'm sure to see it.
This seductive gin cocktail, which is inspired by the forest, features juicy blackberries, woodsy thyme, sweet honey, and earthy bitters. I'm pretty sure it's Winnie The Pooh's favorite cocktail!
Have a look around at some of my favorite recipes! I can't wait to see what you create.